Über The Monkees
They may have been prefabricated to steal pocket change from the pockmarked teen masses, but the Monkees were the best darn prefab rock band ever created by cynical cigar chompers (and counterculture director Bob Rafelson). Who cares if "Last Train to Clarksville" is an inferior rewrite of the Beatles' "Day Tripper," or if the Monkees were just an inferior, third-generation pastiche of the Fab Four? Their songs were fantastic -- from the hard-rocking drive of "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" to the dreamy Psychedelic splendor of "Porpoise Song." Could any of today's teenybopper confections release anything as brilliant as the Kinks-esque "Randy Scouse Git," which goes from sunny, British music hall to slamming Pre-Punk and back again? Despite all the nattering nabobs of negativity who say the Monkees never wrote their own tunes, they did pen a considerable number of their songs. They also relied on the talents of proven Brill Building scribes such as Goffin/King, Neil Diamond and Boyce/Hart. The TV show they were created to front remains a fun time capsule, and their bizarre, acid-drenched movie Head is still a creative tour de (unfocused) force. What does it say about modern pop music that the Prefab Four made better music than today's "uncompromising" artistic geniuses?